What size tent?

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 14, 2003 at 00:13
ThreadID: 2945 Views:4494 Replies:7 FollowUps:5
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Wife and I are departing on a 4 month trip around northern Australia in May 2003. Just the 2 of us in a Landcruiser - no trailer or camper. Had decided on either a Southern Cross Ultimate 10x10 or a Freedom Northern Tourer (with awning and side poles) based upon quality of product and resale value.

I've now been advised that we will need a larger tent for latter trips as we will be in 'the family way' - not yet, but soon enough!

So the dilemma now is, do I buy bigger to start with, or do I sell the 10x10 on our return and upgrade? No more than 2 kiddies planned, and hope to evict them to a dome tent when they are comfortable with the idea (4-6 y.o. I hope). Would appreciate comments on what size centre pole touring tents people use for a small family.

Thanks,
Rohan.
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Reply By: Peter- Tuesday, Jan 14, 2003 at 08:19

Tuesday, Jan 14, 2003 at 08:19
I would suggest buy either of these tents and when more space is needed get a large polly tarp and poles.
Most of the people we camp with do this.
A 10X10 will gige enough room for 2adulst an 2 kids for quite awhile wit some storage.
AnswerID: 11253

Reply By: mich - Tuesday, Jan 14, 2003 at 09:32

Tuesday, Jan 14, 2003 at 09:32
SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD TRIP COMMING UP YOU WILL LOVE IT.
WE HAVE A SOUTHEN CROSS 10X10 CENTRE POLE WITH AWNING.
WE HAVE 3 CHILDREN 2,8,10 AND US ON A DOUBLE LI-LO AND CLOTHS TOWELS ETC, OK FOR OVERNIGHT STOPS BUT THE KIDS HAVE A DOME TENT FOR LONGER STAYS WE ALSO HAD A PORTA COT IN CORNER WHEN THE YOUNGER WAS A BABY STILL WITH REMEMBER YOU DONT LIVE IN THE TENT YOU SLEEP THERE. THE AWNING IS A MUST, I DONT USE THE 10 X10 MUCH AS WE HAVE A VAN BUT I WONT PART WITH IT. THERE IS ALWAYS GOOD RESALE VALUE WITH THE SOUTHERN CROSS
SEE YA DRIVE SAFE AND DONT RUSH AND GIVE FELLOW TRAVERLLERS A WAVE.
MICH
AnswerID: 11258

Reply By: bruce - Tuesday, Jan 14, 2003 at 10:15

Tuesday, Jan 14, 2003 at 10:15
Been there done that tenting thing Rohan..you wont be evicting the kids...they will decamp...ours did , not sleeping with you 2 they said , we want our own tents....cheers
AnswerID: 11261

Reply By: OziExplorer - Tuesday, Jan 14, 2003 at 10:18

Tuesday, Jan 14, 2003 at 10:18
I don't know how much experience you have camping outdoors around Australia, because the flies, mosquitos and sand flies in some places are unbelievable, and always around to some extent everywhere.

I would suggest a 12 x 12 quality quick erecting screen house with floor, something like the Blackwolf Ivanhoe Screen Enclosure, and a small tent like the Coleman Traveller for when the weather is lousy. The Blackwolf screen tent mesh really can be called waterproof, as it is close weave so it is sand fly proof.
http://www.colemanaustralia.com.au/Product,1137,10100A.aspx?page=2

Depending on where you are camping, the majority of time you would just dump your bedding on the floor of the screen tent. Only if the weather is inclement, cold or wet would you put up the Coleman Traveller. The good features of the Coleman Traveller are that the tent has sufficient ventilation and is very well designed and don't believe there is another tent of that size on the market with the features and value for money. A small touring business we run they use these tents, so can speak with knowledge on them.

With a good screen tent, you can really enjoy your camping, sit in comfort without waving flies and getting bitten, and not get them in your food etc. etc. etc.

Canvas tents are a total pain. You cannot put them away wet because they get mouldy so damn quickly, they are cumbersome, bulky and heavy, *always* leak.

You may remember this reply on your travels, and thank me for giving you this advice, or saying to yourselves, if only we had followed the advice in that reply. Flies, mosquitoes and sand flies are a menace, and no amount of repellent will do a good enough job.
With a baby a screen enclosure is even more important. Have fun practicing.

Another good tip you may not be aware off, the home brand roll on deodorant is one of the greatest itch and bite relief available. Just roll deodorant on the bite and five minutes later you have relief from the bite and itching. The expensive product Stingoze is 25% aluminium hydroxide (or something like that) and the roll on deodorant is 15 aluminium hydroxide (or some derivative like that). At around $1.00 for the roll on deodorant, is a real gem for relief.
AnswerID: 11262

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Tuesday, Jan 14, 2003 at 13:40

Tuesday, Jan 14, 2003 at 13:40
Rohan,

I have to agree with Ozi's comments above about heat, flies, midgies etc. I lived in NQ most of my life, a year in Darwin and much time spent in northern WA touring etc.

For many years we used a canvas pyramid style tent which was great but heavy and bulky to carry. Later we went to a larger, dome tent which we found absolutely fantastic. Very quick and easy to erect and pull-down and pack-up into a light weight, compact duffel bag. We used this for 8 years before buying a camper trailer. Still have it for those few occasions we don't use the trailer.

Dome style tents can be bought in just about every size, configuration and price range imaginable so there are plenty to choose from.

Unless rain is threatening, leave the fly off. The inner tent fabric is designed to "breath" so you will be amazed at how much more comfortable it is.

Flies and midgies can be a real nuisance so it is advisable to have some sort of protection from them in the form of a screen house or mozzie net (at least for those longer stopovers). When your baby comes along, this will really come into its own.

Hope this is of some help.

:o) Melissa
AnswerID: 11276

Follow Up By: Member - Steven - Tuesday, Jan 14, 2003 at 18:41

Tuesday, Jan 14, 2003 at 18:41
hi rohan
our kids grown up now so its no longer a problem but we carry a dome tent in our van and still gets a fair bit of use and with dome tents if u buy wisely now you should be able to just buy add ons as needed as young ones come along
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FollowupID: 6228

Reply By: Member - Rohan - Wednesday, Jan 15, 2003 at 08:32

Wednesday, Jan 15, 2003 at 08:32
Thanks to everyone for the replies. I appreciate all the comments.

Should have mentioned that we are from Melbourne and will be spending future trips around the High Country so will probably still go down the canvas tent track. And I can hear you telling me now Ozi that it'll never dry - but you know, everybody has to learn from their own mistakes!

Thanks for the stop itch idea. Was thinking of starting a thread about 'money savers' while travelling and it's a good start - won't stink either!

Talk to you later,
Rohan.
AnswerID: 11321

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Wednesday, Jan 15, 2003 at 11:07

Wednesday, Jan 15, 2003 at 11:07
Rohan as a matter of interest, why do you think a canvas tent in the High Country would be better?

I am in the High Country nearly every week, and a canvas tent would be the last type of tent I would want there. Drying out would be the least of your problems.

For example, if you said you were camping on the side of the Murray or some other rivers/dams/lakes etc. and you said about a canvas tent I could understand, but most definitely not in the High Country for many reasons.
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Follow Up By: Rohan - Wednesday, Jan 15, 2003 at 19:33

Wednesday, Jan 15, 2003 at 19:33
Hi Ozi,

Was thinking about stability and durability mostly. We have a MacPac Nautilus tent for our hiking and I was under the impression that one of the centre poles would be a good option for a vehicle/4wd based travels.

Rohan.
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FollowupID: 6270

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Wednesday, Jan 15, 2003 at 20:47

Wednesday, Jan 15, 2003 at 20:47
Rohan, well, I have had a centre pole tent, and would never have another one whatever the outside material was made from. I found it a pain in the butt - completely. If the weather was bad there was not enough room to put up the folding table and chairs and it was *always* in the way. I sold that tent fairly damn quickly.

Now that you mention you have a MacPac I can see where you may/are coming from. Because you probably got wet inside your MacPac from condensation, is what made you decide on canvas YES/NO?

If you look at the current range of Coleman tents, which in my opionion cannot be beaten for quality, design and value for money, the full inside is made from No See-Um mesh, then the outside has excellent ventilation to ensure there is no moisture inside. As you would know what the weather is like in the High Country, I thought you would have naturally leaned well and trully towards a good dome. Much better in inclement weather.

If you want canvas, of course there is the OzTent, but this would depend if you can carry a 2 metre long package. This is the only canvas tent I would buy. It is without a doubt the quickest tent to erect, but is not cheap. From people that I know who have them, you really need to get the OzTent Discovery as the others are a tad squeezy.
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FollowupID: 6272

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Wednesday, Jan 15, 2003 at 20:53

Wednesday, Jan 15, 2003 at 20:53
Here is a good link to the OzTents full range.
http://www.discountcamping.com.au/index/products/oz30secondtents/tents
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FollowupID: 6273

Reply By: ramjet - Thursday, Jan 16, 2003 at 14:54

Thursday, Jan 16, 2003 at 14:54
Rohan,

youve probably made your decision but heres my 2c worth...

We travelled extensively up Far North with our SouthernCross 12x12, most nights, due to ease and heat, we slept under a mozzie net.
Other than peak mozzie times, we found ourselves outside mostly, the tent became a 'roomy' extravagance.
These are HEAVY tents and can be tiresome constantly moving. Not for overnight/weekend jaunts. If you plan to stay put for a week at a time, go for it.
Buy a side pole extension - a little extra gear but heaps more space inside.
If you are organised!!, canvas tents can be up faster than a dome tent. We can erect ours in under 4 minutes! (15-20 min. to pack it away again)

My evaluation - buy a light, airy, EASY TO ERECT tent for your Northern trip, consider a canvas tent some other journey.

hope this helps,
Rich
AnswerID: 11388

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